In an effort to attract new and nontraditional users to the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory, the ISS National Lab maintains a presence nationally. Our organization participates in numerous science research, technology development and STEM conferences every year. We participate in panels and symposiums focused on communicating the benefits of the ISS and engage in discussions with commercial executives and partner with other governmental agencies all in an effort to increase utilization of the ISS National Lab. This inclusive effort is done so with one ultimate goal—to enable innovative opportunities to benefit life on Earth through space-based research.
There is a collection of thinkers, innovators, scientists and entrepreneurs all seeking an opportunity to improve life on Earth by looking to the stars. These individuals are located on every corner of the map. Through the ISS National Lab, access to the ISS has never been easier and open to broad scientific inquiry, so long as their research has the intention to improve life on Earth in some capacity. To enable markets and educate the research community on space-based research, the ISS National Lab is establishing ecosystems across the nation looking to promote the capabilities of the ISS National Lab, fostering ideas that can capitalize on the resources aboard its unequaled environment. Additionally, the ISS National Lab’s outreach to academic institutions has increased significantly, recognizing that colleges and universities harbor a significant number of creative thinkers. In fact, several of the proposals the ISS National Lab funded in FY13 attest to an increase in ISS utilization among academic researchers.
the ISS National Lab has networked and established partnerships with numerous universities and research institutions across the country. Florida’s Space Coast, surrounding the ISS National Lab headquarters, is another prime location to harvest innovation. Recently the ISS National Lab had the opportunity to connect with local universities.
the ISS National Lab held two academic outreach events this month at the University of Florida and another at Florida Institute of Technology. The University of Florida event was hosted by UF’s Interdisciplinary Center for Biotechnology Research. In attendance were graduate students, technicians, post-doctoral researchers, research professors, research deans and department heads. the ISS National Lab presenters included members of the Portfolio Development and Science teams. The afternoon sessions were also beneficial as the ISS National Lab personnel got a chance to interface with UF administrators including the Vice President of Research, Dr. David Norton. Several presentations from UF research faculty were also given. The event allowed the ISS National Lab to educate members of the UF research community about the organization and the research opportunities available on station.
The event at Florida Tech was also well attended by researchers, Florida Tech students, faculty and members of the Space Coast community. Dr. Anthony Catanese, President of Florida Tech opened the event which was commemorated with a signing ceremony marking the partnership between the ISS National Lab and Florida Tech. Greg Johnson, the ISS National Lab President & Executive Director, gave an overview of our organization and how we provide access to the ISS. After Johnson’s general overview of the organization, the ISS National Lab staff intensified the discussion by providing overviews on how to submit ideas, and what types of scientific disciplines are most advantageous in a microgravity environment. Additionally, representatives from NASA were on-hand as well to discuss its partnership with the ISS National Lab as well as its efforts in human spaceflight research.
With an open solicitation available within remote sensing, these outreach events are great opportunities for the ISS National Lab to promote ISS research and stimulate interest among new user communities. Research will continue to be conducted but it’s imperative that additional researchers realize that the resources onboard the ISS are available for use.
While the ISS National Lab continues in its pursuit of commercial partners to utilize the ISS, it is fully aware that the academic community can play a critical component in the further use of the National Lab, especially as it relates to solicited proposals. To date, over half of the the ISS National Lab funded RFP’s have come through research proposed by the academic community.
Over the coming months, the ISS National Lab will participate in additional outreach events like the ones at UF and FIT to promote the ISS National Lab. Who knows, the ISS National Lab might even be coming to a school near you to help unlock research ideas potentially capable of improving how we live our lives.